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Bidwill: Cardinals coaching search will take time, looking for right fit

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, right, talks with general manager Steve Keim during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals are without a head coach for the first time in five years, as Bruce Arians announced his retirement shortly after the season finale win against the Seahawks.

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim wasted little time scouting potential successors to Arians, requesting to interview numerous coaches just hours after Arians announced his decision to step away from the game.

Arians brought a unique personality to the Cardinals organization, a hard-nosed, straight-shooter who never feared to share his opinion. Arians was one-of-a-kind, and Bidwill knows that.

“You could never find someone that can be just like BA because he is so unique,” Bidwill said on the Big Red Rage on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Thursday. “That’s what we loved about him. Each one of these football coaches has their own leadership style. I am convinced that we have a great group here.”

Bidwill remains focused on bringing in a coach that will develop a working relationship with all members of the organization, and someone that has a dominant personality to lead a roster filled with talent.

Bidwill and Keim have interviewed a total of nine candidates, all of which have “great potential,” according to Bidwill.

“It is the best group of candidates that I have ever had the opportunity to interview,” he added.

Though Bidwill remained quiet on who the Cardinals would bring in for a second round of interviews, reports have surfaced that Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks are the front runners for the position.

Both, however, have also been linked to the New York Giants head coaching vacancy.

Despite the speculation and rumors surrounding the coaches the Cardinals have interviewed, Bidwill said he will not rush the process.

“The process for me and for Steve, we want to have a thorough process,” he said. “That is going to include second interviews where we can dive down into a little bit more detail. We have now broken the ice with people we didn’t know before and we will have more of a relaxed setting in terms of getting to know people.”

The Cardinals have interviewed coaches that have backgrounds in all three phases of the game — offense, defense and special teams. Bidwill explained that they are not looking for a specific background in particular, but does admit that someone with ties to quarterback development could be a factor.

It’s quite possible the Cardinals will target a quarterback in the draft, and a new signal caller will likely be on the way regardless; after Carson Palmer’s retirement and Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert both becoming free agents, the Cardinals don’t have a quarterback on their roster for 2018.

Related: The 5: Arizona Cardinals’ biggest 2018 roster questions

Shurmur has proven his ability to develop quarterbacks this season, as Vikings quarterback Case Keenum under Shurmer has led the team to the second overall seed in the NFC and a 13-3 record.

Keenum is also a free agent after the season, along with other Vikings quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford. Shurmur becoming a head coach could be seen as a potential draw for one or all of the Vikings gun slingers if they are not signed to extensions before hand.

Despite his defensive background, Wilks has been reportedly linked to Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who could become Wilks’ offensive coordinator should he be hired as a head coach. DeFilippo was also one of nine candidates the Cardinals interviewed.

With the second round of interviews reportedly beginning in the next week for the Cardinals, Bidwill remains clear that the they will “leave no stone unturned” in the search for a coach that best fits the organization.

“What I am trying to do is make the best decision for us,” he said. “To hire the next leader, head coach that will deliver championships to this team and to this town.”


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